Youthful offender bill goes to House for debate - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Youthful offender bill goes to House for debate

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) -

Young people charged with certain felonies may not have a chance for youthful offender status if a new bill from a Huntsville lawmaker passes.

Representative Phil Williams is sponsoring the bill. The House Judiciary Committee approved it Wednesday.

Rep. Williams said the death of a 6-year-old boy prompted him to create the bill.

In 2011, young Matthew Dahl was riding his bike when a truck hit and killed him.

The driver, Kyle Morgan, was charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.

Morgan was 19-years-old at the time and applied for youthful offender status. He later withdrew that application and is now serving a six-year prison sentence. The incident motivated Rep. Williams to sponsor the bill.

If passed, the bill would exclude those charged with Class-A felonies from having their cases settled under youthful offender status. This status grants more lenient sentences for younger convicts, usually those younger than 21. In many cases, it keeps their convictions secret.

Representative Williams says the bill would send a message to young people that if they commit a crime, they will be treated as adults.

The bill now goes to the House for debate.

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